Basketball Cuts

A cut in basketball is a sudden move or change of direction on the court to avoid a defensive player with the intent of getting open on the floor. Cutting is especially useful in one on one situations when your team sets you up for an isolation play. Cutting is different from screening because screens utilize multiple players while cutting is more of an individual strategy.

Some cuts work better based on the defensive scheme of an opponent, while doing other cuts against a man or a zone may be completely useless. When working against a zone, it is important to cut into the seams and come from behind the defenders.

Basketball Cutting Steps

When performing a cut, you should perform the following steps for the best results. First off, make sure every action is purposeful. The more in control of your body you are, the better the cut will be. Next, make sure to switch up your pace at different points of the cut. If you start a fake slow and then reverse quickly in the other direction, it will be more effective than a constant run. Lastly, use the floor to your advantage. Pushing off hard in a direction or stopping on a dime are essential cut skills that come with repetition and an emphasis on footwork.

Cut Types In Basketball

There are lots of cut types in basketball. Here is a list of the basic types of cuts players should know:


Basketball V-Cut

To perform a v-cut, a player literally makes a V-shape on the court. Move your body in the first half or leg of the V-shape and then quickly with the second half. This type of cut is the most common and is used to get an open shot or to start an offensive sequence.


To perform an l-cut, make an L-shape on the court by running straight towards the net and then right or left completing the shape of the letter.

Front Cut

To perform a generic front cut, pass the ball to a teammate and run towards the basket for an open pass. Front cuts are also known as slashes down the middle.

Backdoor Cut

Backdoor cuts are the most highlight-inducing. To perform a backdoor cut, move behind the defensive player while he is focused on protecting against the pass play. This should allow a lob or over the top pass to the basket.

Deep Cut

To perform a deep cut, pass the ball to a teammate and run a far distance along the baseline to evade a defensive player. The faster you move, the more likely chance you'll get open in the corner.

Curl Cut

A curl cut is exactly what it sounds like. To perform a curl cut, move around a defensive player as a teammate sets up a screen. Curls are useful for getting quick separation.

Flare Cut

A flare cut is like a curl cut, except you should extend the cut by moving towards the corners as you curl around a defensive player. Flares are often responses to a defender reading a possible curl cut and attempting to jump it, thus allowing the flare to be open.


To perform a UCLA cut, pass the ball to a player on the perimeter and post up for an easy layup as a teammate performs a back screen at the foul line. The UCLA cut was invented by coach John Wooden.

Flash Cut

To perform a flash cut move, you should post up to the low blocks and then run to toward the ball around the foul line. Flash cuts are great for post players that play close to the net who can shoot midrange and back down an opponent.

Shallow Cut

To perform a shallow cut, move into the position of the dribbler as he takes your old position. Shallow cuts are great for players that play on the wings since they can switch which side of the court they're on.